Tag: lifestyle

My grandfather’s iPad

My grandfather has always been what I would call an all-around techie. He has built himself three houses in his lifetime, with hard work he climbed the ladder to become head of department (100+ employees) in a company working in the metal industry and he still owns the biggest private workshop I’ve ever seen. He knows how to build big machinery and repair everyday electronics. Heck, he didn’t want to buy handrails for his house, so he built a 5meter/5ton “gadget” to cold twist 5cm thick steel. That’s the man my grandfather is – a real man’s man.

He will be 76 in a few months, but that doesn’t slow him down. He owns a big screen Plasma and always carries his mobile phone. The only “weak spot” considering regular use of technology is computers. It has been over ten years now since he retired. Back in the day his company just started using computers for accounting. But well, what do you have secretaries for?(;

Anyway, the first computer he bought was a brand new Pentium II. Back in the day Win98 was considered state of the art and Linux was not made for n00bs. Understandingly, he never grew into it. Neither did I. But while I switched to Linux, he didn’t find any good use for his computer.

When I bought my first Apple Macbook in 2007, I installed his second machine (coincidentally my previous PC). It was an IBM dual PIII workstation/monster with lots of RAM. Before it changed owners, I operated it with 6 graphics cards and 6 HDDs. I also got my grandfather a modem, a printer and a fax. The workstation ran Ubuntu 2006/04 which was a decent improvement on Win98.

Even though Ubuntu already had a pretty good user interface, usage was still clunky. He had to go to the “computer room”, switch off the phone, switch on the modem, boot the PC, connect to the internet. He had to use peripherals he was absolutely not used to. I didn’t think it was this hard to use a mouse, but when you’re 70 and never had to use one, this device really can be a deal killer. Honestly, who invented the single left click, the double click and the right click methodology? When he kept asking me over and over when to do what, I realized how bad a design decision this really was.

Skip a few years ahead. We’re in June 2010 now. Apple reveals the iPad.

I decided pretty fast I had to get this device for my grandfather. I was sure he would love to use a computer for mail, news, his favorite croatian radio program (which is normally broadcasted via medium wave – in Germany there’s only reception at night), games and reading about cooking and gardening. There was just no way he would do it with a standard PC in the back of his house. But he would do it on his couch if what he wanted was only one click away. Besides, he always fancied my iPhone as a pretty cool device.

So I went to my local Apple Store and got on the priority list. A couple of weeks later I got mail saying I had 24h time to fetch it from the store. And so I did. I wanted him to have an Google account for mail and calendar, various bookmarks, apps and games preinstalled. Of course I bought the 3G version, so I got my hands on a data plan. The first three days I configured and tested the iPad in such a way that everything would just work out of the box.

Well, what can I say. The decision to get him an iPad has been an overwhelming success! He loves the device, tells me it’s so much easier to use and he keeps asking perfectly good questions on stuff I have not yet taught him. And when he get’s shown what to do, he will remember it and not ask the same question again.

Being the interested and always curious techie he is, he already wrote me mail, read some stuff online and played many winning sessions in Mahjong. I’m quite interested as to where this new love goes. We already upgraded and bought the iPad case – we also wanted the camera connection kit to match his Sony Cybershot, but it is out of stock in Zürich, Stuttgart and even online!

I’m happy he finally made the transition to being part-time online. And I guess he is, too.

Just my 2c on how useful the iPad can be.


Pitying his old mobile Hardcore Mahjong

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This is how you do it

This is how a waitress taught the three IT guys(me and two friends) during lunch break how to enjoy rich video content these days. Kinda crazy, I didn’t think that such a thing could completely elude me for such a long time.

Great surplus: Only downloading is considered legal in Switzerland.

Anyways, I will keep paying for my movies on iTunes for quality, convenience and a great service. movie2k, however, has proven to be a great source of many beloved contemporary series that, not being a US resident, I couldn’t watch legally otherwise.

So, thanks Ms. ? for this hint.

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A new world’s selfishness

Lately I have come to realize that a great many people are very different than me in somewhat fundamental ways. There are people who claim they cannot and will not understand that there is another person whose primary goal in life is to comfort them, to make them feel special and needed. They say it is imperative to have greater goals in life than only a decent partnership, which is grossly unsophisticated and simply not enough.

How can one say they don’t want their special someone to be happy just because they are together? I’m inclined to say that I am sorry for these people, because I believe that they lack self-assurance, but that would be really patronising – and maybe I’m just plain wrong, so I won’t say it. Still, I say it is the small things that make the world a nice and warm place to be and that this new-age “I have to grow beyond my biological programming” only leads to a lack thereof and therefore to loneliness. I don’t deny that I myself am trying to be leave an impact – I try to be honest, decent and helpful to someone in need. But of uttermost importance is the fact that I know that I am just a man; and therefore will not change the world entirely(at least most likely not), but what a man can do is give himself in – to a relationship – and make it work by investing his resources in what is most dear to him.

Besides, I find it ignorant and selfish to claim one of the greatest goals like world peace, world hunger and alike for oneself, because the only effect that is established is a metaphysical and transcendental touch on the person claiming it – probably without being or behaving any different than us normal dull and unsophisticated people. All it does in reality is help them distinguish themselves in their own minds from the crowd – and they need this feeling, because they want to be special and don’t want to be hurt; not by others – and not by their own psyche.

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